Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Back to Church Sunday events adopt local flavour

Posted on: September 28th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

By Leigh Anne Williams

 

 

St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Charlottetown shared its Back to Church Sunday with its neighbours at an ecumenical barbeque.  Photo: Courtesy of St. Paul’s Anglican.


 

This Sunday, Sept. 28, many Anglican churches across Canada will be holding Back to Church-themed services and events.

The concept was a simple one that began in Manchester in 2004, encouraging parishioners to invite a friend to come to church with them, but it has grown into an international event.

Beyond the basic ideas of inviting and welcoming, Back to Church Sundays in Anglican churches across Canada come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have local flavour and variations.

The Rev. Peter Norman of Battle River Parish in Saskatchewan says that his parish’s most successful Back to Church Sunday was held a few years ago. “We put out a huge number of invitations by mail and by hand to strangers and to our ‘lapsed’ list,” he wrote in an email to the Anglican Journal. It resulted in a huge turnout for a prayer and praise service held at a local campground, followed by a corn roast and barbeque. “Many stayed on in the following months and more,” he said.

Even when the events are held may vary. This year, the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island chose Sept. 21 as the date. The seven churches in and around Prince Street in downtown Charlottetown, including St. Paul’s Anglican, take an ecumenical approach. Each church offers its own service, but then everyone is invited to barbeques afterward. Archdeacon John Clarke says that last Sunday, the three churches at the south end of the street gathered on St. Paul’s property and the three churches at the north end gathered at First Baptist.

At the Anglican Parish of St. Timothy, Hatchet Lake, near Halifax, the Rev. Lisa Vaughn says her congregation doesn’t even call it Back to Church Sunday because “we’re in gear all year long. We call it Welcome Sunday,” she said, adding that they did have some new people who were invited by parishioners last week. The morning service was a Kids’ Fun Day Sunday, which the church does three or four times a year, she says. “We had a family gathering at our morning service to get families back into the habit [after summer vacations], so the songs, the readings, the message, everything is geared for kids,” she says. The service was followed by a free hot dog and corn boil lunch. For the past 10 years, the evening service has always been a rock music service that is “seeker-sensitive,” tailored for people who may not be familiar with Anglican or any other church tradition, Vaughn said.

Vaughn added that they try not do anything too far from the norm. “We don’t want to have a big splash on Back to Church Sunday and then the next Sunday is a drag. We try to keep the tone similar.”

Over the decade since the creation of Back to Church Sunday, participants have observed that it ought to be a more than a once-a-year event. The program’s co-founder Harvey now recommends five occasions in the fall that he calls “A Season of Invitation,” suggesting that good opportunities to invite people to church could be Back to Church Sunday in September, harvest in October, Remembrance in November, the start of Christmas and Christmas itself.

The diocese of New Westminster hosted the co-founder of Back to Church Sunday, Michael Harvey, who offered workshops in June, with events held on Sunday, Sept. 14.

Last year, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke about the importance of the personal invitation and the fact that one such invitation led him to decide to be a Christian.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Journal News, September 26, 2014

Anglican-Lutheran covenant enlivens churches in Peterborough

Posted on: September 28th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

By Murray Macadam

 

Congregation offers a rousing rendition of When The Saints Go Marching In at the Peterborough Covenant service Sept. 21. Photo: Murray Macadam


Peterborough, Ont.

Faced with dwindling congregations housed in large, costly buildings, is there another way for parishes to forge new ways of working together that build unity, share resources and present a different image of church to society?

Anglican and Lutheran churches here are living out this challenge in a unique experiment. Faced with church attendances that had dropped roughly in half over the past 20 years, five local churches have come together in a formal agreement of mutual ministry for a two-year period.

The spark for this initiative began in May 2012 when Toronto Area Bishop Linda Nicholls (Trent-Durham) called together the then five Anglican parishes to explore new ways of working together and how parishes could more effectively meet community needs. This process included town hall meetings involving clergy and laity.

A February 2013 letter sent by Nicholls to these parishes notes the anxiety felt by local Anglicans in the face of declining attendance, financial stresses and aging congregations. “Our challenge is not first about money or buildings—our challenge is how we continue to be that witness to Christ in ways that are sustainable, best using the resources we have,” says Nicholls.

Prayers and discussions led to the signing of a covenant in May 2014 in which four local Anglican parishes—All Saints’, St. Barnabas, St. Luke’s and St. John’s—along with Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, pledged to work together. (By 2014, one Anglican parish, St. Alban’s, had merged with another parish, while a Lutheran parish, Christ Lutheran, had joined the covenant.)

A council made up of clergy and parishioners from the five congregations oversees the covenant, but each parish remains distinct, worshipping in their established locations.

A key goal of the Anglican-Lutheran covenant is to encourage new and renewed ministries to serve Peterborough, which has a growing urban centre and rural community. Already a number of examples of co-operation are underway: regular meetings of clergy involving prayer and discussion; a study group on the psalms that rotates from church to church, with shared leadership; joint worship services; and the exploration of a joint refugee family sponsorship. Working groups have been set up to focus on such topics as family ministry, education and training, workshop, health and communications.

Unity is being made real in creative ways through worship. At an Easter Vigil in 2013, a representative from each parish was asked to take home a coal oil lamp that had been lit from the Paschal candle. These were kept alight overnight, producing the distinctive smell of coal oil, then taken to each church for the Easter Day celebration, where each of the four Paschal candles was lit as a symbol of unity.

Despite heavy rain, on Sept. 21 nearly 300 gathered at a special service for members of the five covenant churches. The service opened with an invitation for each person to speak with someone they didn’t know as a way to build community. It included a team of biblical storytellers recounting the core elements of Christian faith in dramatic fashion.

The parishes are also helping each other through administrative efforts. Instead of each parish hiring someone to inspect their buildings, one person has been hired to inspect all of them, which has been cost-effective. A special events choir, Covenant Choir, made up of 28 members from the five congregations, has already assisted at several funerals at three different churches.

Through covenant meetings, lay members have become acquainted with people from other congregations. Friendships have developed as a result.

Perhaps the best result, however, is a change in mindset, says the Rev. Canon Gordon Finney, incumbent of St John’s. When faced by an issue, he says, “Our first impulse now is to co-operate, to ask ourselves, ‘Is this something we can do with other parishes?’ ”

The new model is by no means easy, cautions the Rev. Geoff Howson, incumbent of All Saints’. “It’s hard work. It means trusting each other and letting go of old habits. Another issue is how are we going to work with five big physical plants [church buildings]?”

Despite the challenges, Howson is a keen supporter of the new effort, viewing it as a bold effort by local Anglicans and Lutherans “to move from a maintenance model to a missional model of ministry. We’re in for the long haul to make this thing work.”

Others share his enthusiasm. “We were welcomed into the covenant with open arms and accepted the invitation quickly,” says the Rev. Scott Schellenberger, pastor of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church. “We have shared in worship experiences and scripture study, and the doors are opening to so much more. I am very excited about the way the Spirit is moving us.”

Adds the Rev. Frank Tyrrell, a deacon at St. Barnabas: “I believe that God is calling us to step out in different ways to connect with God’s people. Jesus said, ‘Protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.’ ”

 

MURRAY MACADAM is a freelance writer who lives in Peterborough, Ont.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Journal News, September 26, 2014

Marching toward change

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

By Leigh Anne Williams

 

Don Robinson, a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Northampton, Mass., were among the more than 300,000 people “of all faiths and none,” who joined the People’s Climate March Sept. 21, according to the Episcopal News Service. Photo: Amy Sowder


With more than 310,000 participants, including religious leaders from around the world, the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sept. 21 was the largest demonstration for climate action in history.

The march was timed to lead up to the United Nations Climate Summit at UN headquarters in New York on Sept. 23 and more than 2,800 solidarity events were held in 166 countries around the world.

“It was spectacular,” said National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald, who was among those who marched in New York. He confessed that he and other religious leaders came late to the rally because they were at an interfaith conference, jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), a body that includes 345 churches representing about 560 million Christians worldwide, and Religions for Peace, an interfaith coalition with members in more than 70 countries. Thirty leaders from nine religions crafted a statement calling for concrete actions to curb carbon emissions.

That interfaith conference was “astonishing” in itself, said MacDonald, because of “the breadth of participation.” Interfaith leaders later joined the march and walked together.

“We were kind of the caboose…so we didn’t have the shazam of the whole thing,” MacDonald said, “which doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an overwhelming, fantastic experience because you really had a sense that the ground was shifting in terms of climate change.” He noted the participation of corporations and governments in the event, mentioning the Rockefeller family’s announcement that they would divest from fossil fuels as an example of change in the corporate world. He added that at the beginning of the conference there weren’t a lot of religious organizations that had divested, but he sensed there “is a snowball kind of effect” of that movement growing.

Because many of the speakers had serious concerns about the prospects for the future, MacDonald said the march’s “dose of hopeful optimism was really helpful and necessary.”

MacDonald was also in New York to participate in a UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and he said he was encouraged that indigenous leaders played an important role in all of the climate change discussions. “At all of the events, the critical role of indigenous people in underlining the importance of the environment, but also in a spirituality and ethic of environmental care, was held up as a model that the world could not afford to lose,” he said.

Just prior to the event, four leaders of Anglican, Episcopal and Lutheran churches in Canada and the U.S. issued a joint pastoral message on climate change.

“We are united as Christian leaders in our concern for the well-being of our neighbours and of God’s good creation that provides life and livelihood for all God’s creatures,” began the message signed by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada; Archbishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church; Bishop Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; and Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The message encouraged people to unite and work together. “…[We] need not surrender to political ideologies and other modern mythologies that would divide us into partisan factions—deserving and undeserving, powerless victims and godless oppressors…In Christ God sets us free from the captivity of blaming and shaming. God liberates us for shared endeavours where we find each other at our best.”

The leaders urged people to act “imaginatively and courageously” as individuals when making choices about energy use, carbon emissions, the consumption of water and other natural resources, educating children and being a voice for the just and responsible use of resources.

And they encouraged collective actions and advocacy such as engaging “decision-makers in this godly work in all arenas of public life—in government and business, in schools and civic organizations, in social media and also in our church life.” Marches and demonstrations were also held simultaneously in cities across Canada, and Canadian Anglicans were among the crowds.

In Montreal, a contingent of 15 parishioners from Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal, including the Rev. Canon Peter Huish, participated in a march of about 1,500 people from one large park to another.
Photo: Harvey Shepherd


In Toronto, the Rev. Andrea Budgey, the University of Toronto chaplain based at Trinity College, was part of a crowd she estimated to be about 3,000. “One of the refreshing things about that march was that there were lots of people I don’t usually see” at environmental events, she said.

Budgey added that her clerical collar is “standard demo wear” because she thinks it is important for people who care about the environment to see that the church is there and this is “an issue that matters profoundly to Christians.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who convened the summit and also participated in the New York march, invited leaders from government, finance, business and civil society to “bring bold announcements and actions…that will their reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in Paris in 2015.”

 

—With files from ENS and Harvey Shepherd

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Journal News, September 25, 2014

Bishop of Montreal posts bond for refugee claimant

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

By Harvey Shepherd

 

 

Tahira Malik (middle) talks about the plight of her ailing mother, Khurshid Begum Awan. Beside her are Anglican diocese of Montreal Bishop Barry Clarke (left) and Rushdia Mehreen, who acted as interpreter.  Photo: Harvey Shepherd


Over a year after seeking refuge in a Montreal church, an ailing Pakistani woman threatened with deportation has been able to exchange her sanctuary in the church for what freedom her health permits under a $5,000 bond posted by Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal.

Supporters and a daughter said at a Montreal press conference held Sept 22. in the dioceses’s Fulford Hall that Khurshid Begum Awan, 58, has been living with her daughter, between hospitalizations for her heart condition and other problems, since she left St. Peter’s TMR Church in the Town of Mount Royal in early August. She was not at the press conference for health reasons.

In August, she presented herself to Citizenship and Immigration Canada and applied for what is known as a Pre-Removal Risk-Assessment. She is entitled to remain in Canada, subject to the $5,000 bond, pending results of the assessment and of an earlier application for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Lawyer Rick Goldman of a refugee protection organization said that under relatively recent changes to Canadian law an application for a Pre-Removal Risk-Assessment cannot be filed before a year after a deportation order. (Many refugee-status claimants would already have been deported by then.)

Mrs. Awan, her husband Mohamed Khalil Awan, who was deported to Pakistan in 2013, their daughter Tahira Malik and her son, Ali Own, 16, are Muslims of the Shia tradition, a minority in Pakistan. Mrs. Awan argues that she and her husband face persecution and the threat of violence from members of Pakistan’s Sunni Muslim majority, particularly an organization known as Sipah-e-Sahaba or Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat that has targeted them in the past.

Tahira Malik fled to Canada earlier to escape the conjugal violence of her ex-husband, leaving her son, then one year old, in the care of his grandparents, who brought him to Canada in 2011. Tahira Malik obtained refugee status in 2000. She and her son are now Canadian citizens, but she says she and her son, deeply bonded to his grandmother, would accompany her to Pakistan if she were deported.

Bishop Clarke described the Awan family as “voices crying in the wilderness.” He said actions like offering sanctuary may bend the laws, but Anglicans are called “as people and citizens” to stand with people in such circumstances. She said Mrs. Awan’s physical state and mental condition are both causes for concern.

Stewart Istvanffy, the Awan family’s lawyer, said the family faces a lack of recourse under Canadian law and the federal government needs to step in “to correct serious mistakes.”

“This family has been the victim of very serious terrorism in Lahore.”

Once a relatively tolerant society, Lahore has been a focus of terrorism in about the last two years, Mr. Istvanffy said. “Does Canada stand against terrorism or not?”

 

Harvey Shepherd is editor of The Montreal Anglican, the newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Montreal.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Anglican Journal News, September 24, 2014

US, Canada urged to ‘right historic wrongs’ in Columbia River Treaty

Posted on: September 22nd, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

By Anglican Journal staff

 

 

The Duncan Dam was one of four dams constructed under the Columbia River Treaty signed by Canada, the province of British Columbia and the United States. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Religious and indigenous leaders from Canada and the United States today urged U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to begin negotiations that would “right historic wrongs” and promote “water stewardship” in the Columbia River Treaty.

In 1964, the federal government and the B.C. provincial government signed a treaty with the United States to jointly manage water resources along the Columbia River Basin, which stretches 2,000 kilometres from the Rocky Mountains of B.C. through four U.S. states. During the 50-year period, dams were created for hydroelectric power and flood prevention. The treaty—which religious and native leaders say ignores the rights of Columbia Basin tribes in the U.S. and the First Nations in Canada—is up for renegotiations. The treaty has no specified end date, but either country can unilaterally terminate most of its provisions as early as Sept. 16, 2024, provided that at least 10 years’ notice is given, which would have been Sept. 16, 2014.

In letters sent to Obama and Harper, 14 religious leaders and seven indigenous leaders included a Declaration of Ethics as “a foundation for negotiations.” Based on the Columbia River Pastoral Letter issued in 1999 by U.S. Roman Catholic bishops, the declaration urges both Canada and the U.S. to “work together to develop and implement an integrated spiritual, social and ecological vision for our watershed home.” It identifies 48 principles for modernizing the treaty, including respecting indigenous rights and “protecting and restoring healthy ecosystems with abundant fish and wildlife populations.”

The Declaration “speaks very clearly of how important and critical it is for there to be justice to correct the many years of injustice to the Native people of the Columbia Basin, including the First Nations of Canada,” said Matt Wynne, Chairman of the Upper Columbia United Tribes. The coming together of religious and indigenous leaders “underscores that the future of the Columbia River is not just a political, but a moral issue,” he said. “Native Americans suffered the greatest losses and the most damage as a result of not being included in the first negotiations leading up to the 1964 Treaty.  It helps keep my spirit strong knowing that our struggle for justice and stewardship of the river carries so much faith-based support.”

The letters also noted that 17 multi-faith prayer vigils have been held in August along the Columbia River urging the need to restore salmon runs that have been blocked by the reservoirs. (The Anglican Church of Canada’s National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald was among the signatories to the letters.)

“Our tribal and First Nations communities in both Canada and the United States have fundamentally relied on salmon as our life source,” said a statement by Grand Chief Stewart Philip, chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. “As elders have stated, ‘We are salmon people.’ ” He noted that construction of the dams not only had a grave impact on fisheries but also “devastated our lands” and destroyed culture and communities. Dams flooded river valleys and wildlife habitat and forced thousands of people from their homes and ancestral fishing sites, he said.

MacDonald said “a modernized treaty for the Columbia River is an opportunity for all peoples of Columbia—and the great system of life which is the river ecosystem—to walk through to a new day of justice and well-being.” Restoring the river back to health and returning salmon to their ancestral spawning waters “would transform discussions of the environment, indigenous rights and the future of sustainable life around the world,” he added. “The churches, who have always rhetorically aspired to walk with indigenous peoples, have a chance, in this opportunity, to walk with indigenous peoples in a movement towards just and sustainable life for all.”

Both Ottawa and Washington have not stated their positions on the renegotiation of the treaty. The B.C. government has announced its support for a continuation of the treaty but said it would “seek improvements within its existing framework.” In a press statement, they said that it recognizes salmon migration on the Columbia River was eliminated by the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, 26 years prior to treaty ratification, and concludes that the restoration of fish passage and habitat should be the responsibility of each country.According to the statement, “The new treaty must also consider issues around ecosystems and climate change, while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to evolving economic, social and environmental circumstances in each country.” _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Journal News, September 19, 2014

Church leaders urge action on climate

Posted on: September 22nd, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

By Anglican Journal staff

 

“…[As] citizens we have chosen to support or acquiesce in policies that shift the burdens of climate change to communities that are most vulnerable to its effects,” Anglican and Lutheran leaders wrote in a joint pastoral message that also said “the present moment is a critical one” to take action.        Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Ceekaypee

 


Just ahead of a large-scale climate march planned to take place in New York City on Sept. 21 and a one-day climate summit at UN headquarters on Sept. 23, leaders of Anglican, Episcopal and Lutheran churches in Canada and the U.S. have issued a joint pastoral message on climate change.

“We are united as Christian leaders in our concern for the well-being of our neighbours and of God’s good creation that provides life and livelihood for all God’s creatures. Daily we see and hear the evidence of a rapidly changing climate,” began the message signed by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada; Archbishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church; Bishop Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; and Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The four leaders met in Toronto in July and planned at that time to issue their pastoral message to coincide with the UN summit.

The leaders observed that some people concerned for the well-being of the planet and humanity “have understandably focused on the neglect and carelessness, both in private industry and in government regulation, that have contributed to these changes.”

But they added that responsibility for the problem and for finding solutions must be taken on broadly. “…[A]n honest accounting requires a recognition that we all participate both as consumers and investors in economies that make intensive and insistent demands for energy,” they wrote. “In addition, as citizens we have chosen to support or acquiesce in policies that shift the burdens of climate change to communities that are most vulnerable to its effects. People who are already challenged by poverty and by dislocation resulting from civil war or famine have limited resources for adapting to climate change’s effects.”

The message encourages people to unite and work together. “…[We] need not surrender to political ideologies and other modern mythologies that would divide us into partisan factions—deserving and undeserving, powerless victims and godless oppressors…In Christ God sets us free from the captivity of blaming and shaming. God liberates us for shared endeavors where we find each other at our best.”

The leaders urged people to act “imaginatively and courageously” as individuals when making choices about energy use, carbon emissions, the consumption of water and other natural resources, educating children and being a voice for the just and responsible use of resources.

Collectively, people must work for the common good, they said, noting that world leaders will be meeting at the UN Climate Summit, and in December in Lima, Peru, to discuss global cooperation on climate change. “Working under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), participants in the UNFCCC’s negotiations hope for an agreement in 2015 that will move toward reduction of carbon emissions, development of low carbon technologies, and assistance to populations most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

“We encourage you to take the initiative to engage decision-makers in this godly work in all arenas of public life—in government and business, in schools and civic organizations, in social media and also in our church life,” the leaders wrote.

The People’s Climate March has been planned as a collective effort by about 1.400 organizations, including New York-area community groups, international NGO’s, grassroots networks, churches and faith organizations. Organizers hope to draw more than 100,000 people to the march that will begin in Central Park and end in lower Manhattan.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Journal News, September 19, 2014

WCC promotes day of peace prayer

Posted on: September 20th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

By Anglican Journal staff

 

Sept. 21 is International Day of Prayer for Peace.                                          Photo: Shutterstock

 


The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling on Christians worldwide to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21.

Observances of the peace prayer day began in 2004 as part of the ecumenical Decade to Overcome Violence (2001–2010) following an agreement between the heads of the WCC and the United Nations (UN).

This year, the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches will also observe World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel Sept. 21 to Sept. 27. The theme chosen for the week is “Let my people go!” The forum invites member churches, faith-based communities and civil society groups around the world “to join together in 2014 for a week of advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel.” It recommends that congregations and individuals stage “peaceful actions, together, to create a common international public witness.”

The Anglican Church of Canada  is a member of the WCC, which brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories, representing over 500 million Christians globally. At the end of 2013, there were 345 member churches.

Sept. 21 is also the United Nations-sponsored International Day of Peace. Since a resolution establishing Sept. 21 as the day was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly in 2001, the UN has invited all nations and people to “honour a cessation of hostilities and to otherwise observe the day through education and public awareness of issues related to peace.”

The non-profit organization Pathways to Peace is also encouraging people to observe the day. On a website for the International Day of Peace, organizers say: “Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, sitting in silent meditation, or doing a good deed for someone you don’t know. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. You can also share thoughts, messages and pictures to commemorate Peace Day on social media.”

The site invites participants to share information about what they are doing to observe the day or to use the Twitter hashtag @PeaceDay.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Journal News, September 17, 2014

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Posted on: September 20th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

Each year Christians all over the globe set aside a week of prayer for Christian unity.  Through prayer, the faithful call for the healing of division and the deepening of understanding throughout the church.

For more than one hundred years, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been celebrated from January 18 to 25. This eight-day period marks a special time for Christians from different denominations and traditions to come together in prayer, reflection, and fellowship for the sake of unity in the midst of diversity.

Each year the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity prepare a theme. A team from one country then prepares liturgical and other resources based on this theme. The materials for 2015 find their origins in Brazil.

The Canadian Council of Churches, like many other national and regional ecumenical councils around the world, adapts these resources for local use. This involves creating theological resources grounded in the Canadian context, with hymn suggestions drawn from familiar hymnals such as Common Praise and Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

The 2015 theme passage from the Gospel of John—“Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’ ”(John 4:7)—speaks to opportunities for radical hospitality in everyday moments. In this story, Jesus arrives at a well, tired, thirsty, and a stranger in the land. The woman he meets there owns the bucket and even access to the water itself.  It is a moment that, draws them into a relationship of acceptance, dialogue, and coexistence.

Archdeacon Bruce Myers, General Synod’s Co-ordinator for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, encourages all Anglicans to celebrate the Week of Prayer. “Common prayer with Christians of other traditions is one of the most underrated aspects of ecumenism,” he reflects. “We need to constantly pray for the unity we seek, and to offer those prayers as often as possible alongside those very Christians with whom we’re seeking to reconcile.”

The resources prepared by the Canadian Council of Churches are designed for groups of varying sizes and experience. Even if your community or congregation is small, or has never celebrated the Week of Prayer, the resources can be tailored to your needs.

Myers stresses that the “worship materials are very user friendly, and communities of all kinds and of all sizes can adapt them as seems appropriate. You don’t need to have a cathedral full of people…Jesus himself promises he’s present in even the smallest gatherings in his name.”

The Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches, echoes this enthusiasm for the opportunities found in celebrating Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. “As members of the Body of Christ in time and space, we have been given a cup of life, an opportunity to pray through the words and particular expression of the faith of our sisters and brothers in Brazil,” she says. “Through their own context, which is one that currently includes violence and intolerance, they are challenging themselves and challenging us here in Canada to overcome divisions.”

The Anglican Church of Canada works for Christian unity through full communion relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, through membership in the Canadian Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, and KAIROS  (Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives), and through national and international bilateral dialogues and shared ministries across Canada. To find out more, please visit our Ecumenical Relations webpage or contact the Ven. Bruce Myers, Co-ordinator for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations. 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, September 17, 2014

Ecumenism conference to honour Irenée Beaubien

Posted on: September 15th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

By Harvey Shepherd

 

Irenée Beaubien, distinguished Jesuit ecumenist and founder of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism. Photo: CCCB


The Montreal-based Canadian Centre for Ecumenism is organizing a conference October 24 to 25 in the Anglicans’ Fulford Hall to mark the 50th anniversary of its creation and other historic moments in the early 1960s in the inter-church, and to some extent, interfaith movement called ecumenism. Adriana Bara, now beginning her second year as director of the centre, acknowledges that the celebration is taking place at a time when some people are asking whether the whole notion of ecumenism is outmoded.

Obviously she doesn’t think so, which is among the reasons the centre is organizing the conference and making it the occasion to launch an Irénée Beaubien Ecumenical Institute, named for the distinguished Jesuit ecumenist and founder of the centre, now age 98.

She hopes both the institute and the bilingual conference—at 1444 Union Ave., behind Christ Church Cathedral—will also promote a couple of her goals for the centre: to bring it closer to the scholarly community and make it more accessible to students and the public. “This will be a wonderful opportunity for students and the public to encounter some leading scholars and bishops,” she said.

The Anglican bishop of Montreal, Barry Clarke, is one of four bishops on the program, along with Roman Catholic Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal, the ecumenically-minded Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Dowd of the Catholic archdiocese and Bishop Ioan Casian, based in the Lachute area as vicar bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church in the Americas. Bishop Clarke’s presentation is titled “An Ecumenical Dance with Anglicans.”

Other speakers will represent a wide range of views, but several of them also reflect Bara’s Christian Orthodox roots and her association with the Concordia University department of theological studies, a co-sponsor of the conference along with the centre and the Roman Catholic and Anglican dioceses. Bara still teaches part-time at Concordia.

The 14 speakers at the conference will also include Rev. Thomas Ryan, a leading ecumenist and a former director of the centre. Now based in Washington, D.C., as head of the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, he headed the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism for 14 years and was founding director of the Montreal spiritual centre Unitas for another five before returning to the United States in 2000. His topic, “Spiritual and Receptive Ecumenism,” will reflect a current emphasis in some ecumenical churches on what one’s faith can learn from that of others rather than the reverse.

Professor Gilles Routhier of Université Laval will ask whether ecumenism is outdated. While none of the speakers is from a non-Christian religion or an evangelical background, Rev. Gilles Barrette of the Missionaries of Africa (or White Fathers) will discuss “Witness to Christ in Meeting Muslims” and Paul Allen of Concordia will discuss Catholic-evangelical “complementarity on creation,” albeit from a Catholic perspective.

Professor Christine Jamieson of Concordia will draw on personal aboriginal roots in a talk on aboriginal spirituality as an ecumenical encounter. Two Concordia faculty, Matthew Anderson and Sara Terreault, will discuss the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela as a contemporary ecumenical practice. Two others, Dragos Giulea and Lucian Tourescu, will touch on issues in Christian Orthodoxy and Eastern Europe, as will Paul Ladouceur of the Université de Sherbrooke and Trinity College, Toronto.

For more information, call 514-937-9176 ext. 33. Or send an email to abara@oikoumene.ca or visit www.oikoumene.ca and click on Irénée Beaubien s.j. Ecumenical Institute Activities, then click on the icon—in both senses of that word.

Harvey Shepherd is editor of The Montreal Anglican, the newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Montreal.   __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Anglican Journal News, September 11, 2014

Anglican voices in defence of the planet

Posted on: September 15th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

 

By Diana Swift

 

A group from Grenada gathers to pray in solidarity with those “most at risk from climate change.” Photo: Courtesy of Our Voices


Anglicans are being urged to join the global conversation on climate change. The online campaign Our Voices: Bringing faith to the climate  “is a profound invitation to people of all faiths around the world to raise their voices and add their perspectives in political discussions about climate change,” says the Rev. Canon Ken Gray, secretary and communications manager of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN).

“The Our Voices project is not an ACEN initiative, but we are seminally involved, and we are encouraging Anglicans globally to sign on,” adds Gray, rector of the Church of the Advent in Colwood, B.C., and the ecclesiastical province of Canada’s representative in the ACEN.

The campaign’s website urges people of religious faith and moral conviction “to sign and pray in their own tradition for the Paris 2015 UN Climate Summit to succeed where all past talks have failed.” Among the campaign’s global ambassadors is South Africa’s Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, chairman of the ACEN and convenor of the Eco-bishops’ Dialogue, in which some 20 Anglican bishops will meet in Cape Town in February 2015.

According to the Our Voices site, 97 per cent of the world’s climate scientists agree that human activity is causing global warming and threatening life on the planet. It is not just an environmental problem but also “a humanitarian and development emergency…already affecting vulnerable communities.” While previous climate summits have failed to achieve significant agreement, “the UN believes there is hope of global agreement in Paris 2015 if the moral call for action is so loud that politicians can’t ignore it,” the site says. The UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) will meet in Paris in November-December of 2015.

A challenge to the world’s faith communities to add a much-needed moral dimension to ecological discussions came from the FCCC’s executive director, Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica, who spoke to the St. Paul’s Institute at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London this past May.

For the year leading up to the 2015 summit, many awareness-raising and action-triggering events have been planned.

On Sept. 21, in New York City, people will assemble in the massive, “history-making” People’s Climate March. Representing more than 1,000 business, labour, faith, environmental and educational groups, the march is inviting people from all over to attend or to organize solidarity marches in their local communities. A live-streamed faith celebration will follow the march on the evening of the 21st at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

The official launch of Our Voices will be timed to the People’s Climate March, and the campaign will run to the end of this year.

The New York march is timed to put ethical pressure on political leaders as the UN’s secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, convenes a one-day leaders’ climate summit  in New York on Sept. 23. “This conference, some say, has the potential to be major turning point in global climate change policy,” says Gray.

The Sept. 23 meeting is a prelude to the 2015 summit. “That particular meetings summit should crystallize the future of conversations around climate change,” says Gray, adding that it is expected to be as important as the FCCC’s 1992 conference in Rio de Janeiro. He notes that several existing international agreements are due to expire in November 2015.

“The Our Voices campaign is designed to take us from where we are now up to the 2015 conference,” says Gray. “To raise our moral voices and demand that policy makers come up with something that is fair, binding and effective.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Journal News, September 9, 2014